Ethics in Action

The first, and perhaps most critical element needed for effective character education of our children, begins with an environment that models the concepts of the six core ethical values of trustworthiness, respect, responsibility, fairness, caring and citizenship. As caregivers and educators, we need to demonstrate ethics on a daily basis in all that we do and say. We need to hold ourselves and our employees accountable on all levels of our business and teaching environments. It is no longer acceptable to operate on a "Do as I say, not as I do," mentality.

Be A Role Model

Your character and the character of your employees or substitutes, matters. Children mimic what they see and what they hear. Each of your communications with parents affirm your ethical approach to respect, trustworthiness, and fairness. How your employees relate to each other reveals the level of caring and responsibility that exists in your centre. Working hand in hand with service organizations in your community demonstrates your commitment to good citizenship, and so on. Think about all the messages you send to the children through your daily interactions.

Take the time to train your staff about your business values, from the assistant teachers to the volunteer cooks. Learn as much as you can about character development training for your staff as well as your children. We've included a few links in this newsletter that are a springboard to the vast amount of information available to assist you with this task.

Code Of Ethics

Set up a code of ethics for yourself and your employees. Get the children's input. Let them see you are willing to abide by a higher standard of character yourself.

Place posters throughout your workplace to inspire, encourage and motivate everyone to adhere to the concepts of leadership, team work, community involvement. Visit! for a huge range of quality products that will inspire everyone in your facility.

Consciously communicate and model affirming messages about character and ethics by using encouraging quotes and slogans on all your communications with staff, parents, vendors, etc.

Praises the positive role-modeling work of your staff in front of the children and the parents. This is a great way to build self-esteem in your staff, and to let them know how much you value their contribution to your facility.

Encourage your staff and parents to learn as much as they can about character education. Offer to lend your resources to them of put together a summary of the resources in this newsletter. Offer rewards or incentives for staff to better themselves.

Admit When You're Wrong

When you are wrong, demonstrate accountability by admitting it and apologizing. When members of your facility violate core ethical principles, whether it is a failure to show respect or common courtesy, an act of selfishness or a lie, express appropriate disapproval or impose sanctions. Always remember that the children are watching YOU!

Your efforts to develop and adhere to a core set of character principals for yourself and your staff will make a huge difference in families you serve. Think of what that will mean in terms of the real success of the children.


Five Steps to Teaching Solid Character in Students
By Michele Borba, Ed.D., who is an internationally-recognized consultant and author of eighteen books including Character Builders and Esteem Builders, by Jalmar Press. Information on her publications and seminars can be accessed through her Web site,

Creating a Code of Ethics for Your Organization
by Chris MacDonald, Ph.D.
An online resource that covers the basics of developing a code of ethics for your business in an easy to follow manner.
The Canadian resource for Business Ethics.